Coronavirus updates in SC: DHEC reports 261 additional COVID-19 cases in state, 5 more deaths
Note: The coronavirus outbreak is a rapidly developing event, and this story contains information that was only updated through April 2, 2020. Some of the information here may have changed because of the breaking nature of the pandemic; updates are reflected in more current stories. For our the latest on the coronavirus outbreak and its impact on South Carolina visit greenvillenews.com or independentmail.com.
Coronavirus noticias en Carolina del Sur: Nuevas normas con sanciones para empresas en Greenville
COVID-19 map: County-by-county look at coronavirus cases
Prisma employees test positive for COVID-19
Multiple Prisma Health employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the health system said in a statement Thursday.
Prisma did not release how many employees were diagnosed with the respiratory illness, which it said continues to change as an investigation into the cases progresses.
On a Wednesday conference call with state legislators, Prisma CEO Mark O'Halla and Dr. Eric Ossmann, Prisma's top emergency department doctor, said the system had at least four employees in the Midlands that had been confirmed with the coronavirus but none in the Upstate that had been confirmed with "work exposure" to the virus.
Read the full story here.
UofSC extends remote learning to August
The University of South Carolina announced Thursday that remote learning will continue until August 1 at the earliest.
Projections indicate the coronavirus will remain a public health threat until early summer at least, UofSC said in a statement, and the university chose to extend remote learning to protect students, faculty and staff.
SC extends deadline for professional license renewal
The South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation has extended upcoming deadlines for professional licensing renewal, according to a statement from Gov. Henry McMaster's office.
The deadline for all professional licenses, permits and registration due for renewal from April to August has been pushed to Sept. 30.
Professionals will still be able to renew their credentials before the new deadline if they choose to. Continuing education requirements will be available throughout the new renewal period.
The following boards will be impacted:
- Engineers and Surveyors
- Environmental Certification
- Long Term Health Care
- LP Gas
- Manufactured Housing
- Massage Therapy
- Real Estate Appraisers
- Real Estate Commission
- Residential Builders
To learn more, visit llr.sc.gov.
DHEC reports 261 additional COVID-19 cases in SC
The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control on Thursday announced 261 more cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in South Carolina, bringing the state total to 1,554. The agency also reported five additional deaths, bringing the state's total to 31.
The pandemic has officially spread to every county in the state, according to DHEC.
Of the 261 new confirmed cases, 25 were in Greenville County and 10 were in Anderson County.
One of the five deaths was in Anderson County.
Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore said the person is a 67-year-old man from Anderson. He died Wednesday morning in the intensive care unit at AnMed Health Medical Center, but his COVID-19 test results did not come back until Thursday, Shore said.
Shore said the man had diabetes as an underlying medical condition. The man's name has not been made public.
SCDMV scaling back operations
Starting Monday, appointments will be required to complete in-person transactions at locations of the Department of Motor Vehicles locations that remain open across the state, according to the agency's website. The DMV will also close some offices, leaving one location open in each county and consolidating employees there.
Driving tests are suspended, but the motorcycle and commercial driver licensing tests will be available again starting Monday on a limited basis, a spokesperson said.
Read the full story here.
Rep. Clyburn to chair new House coronavirus oversight committee
U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-SC, has been named chairman of a new House committee tasked with overseeing $2 trillion recently allocated in response to the coronavirus pandemic, according to statement from his press office.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday tapped Clyburn, the House majority whip, as to lead the House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis.
Milliken to begin making textiles to be used for PPEs
Milliken is pivoting to making textiles to be used for personal protective equipment for healthcare professionals.
The Spartanburg-based manufacturer announced in a press release that it is working on new manufacturing critical barrier protection fabrics to be used in gowns and headcovers for those in healthcare.
“We have focused our development and manufacturing processes to help fight the battle against COVID-19,” said Halsey M. Cook, Milliken & Company president and CEO. “We began by engineering our existing textiles into medical-grade fabrics for PPE, and we will continue to seek critical solutions as we navigate this uncharted territory as a company, a nation and a world.”
The company is also researching and developing materials for incorporation into N95-grade masks, according to the release.
Amazon worker at Greenville facility tests positive
An Amazon employee who worked at a Greenville delivery station on Frontage Road has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesperson for the online retailer.
Amazon said it's taking precautions, notifying employees and delivery associates at the facility and asking its delivery people not to make direct contact with customers when making deliveries.
Greenville likely to outlaw less than six feet of distance between people
The city of Greenville could make it against the law for businesses to allow less than six feet of distance between people.
City Council is set to vote on an ordinance on Friday to enact measures that are stricter than those handed down by the governor.
The fine will be $100 for a violation. If there are repeated violations, the city could revoke business licenses or occupancy permits.
The ordinance wouldn't call for people to stay at home, but it does push Gov. McMaster to put a 14 day stay-at-home order in place.
BCBS waiving cost of COVID-19 treatment for members
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and BlueChoice HealthPlan will waive all out-of-pocket costs related to in-network COVID-19 medical treatment for members, through June 1, according to a release from the insurer.
The insurer previously announced that it would cover the provider visit and testing to diagnose COVID-19.
Canal Insurance donates $50k to United Way
Canal Insurance has donated $50,000 to United Way of Greenville County's COVID-19 Community Relief Fund, according to a release from Canal.
The fund helps local nonprofits working in vulnerable communities affected by the virus.
NY Times: Greenville has traveled more than any county above 500k
In a new report, The New York Times says Greenville County residents have traveled longer distances recently than residents of any other county in the U.S. with a population of more than 500,000.
The Times analyzed cellphone data across the country to take a look how different places were reacting to recommendations to stay at home. The data showed Greenville County residents were traveling an average of 3.4 miles between Feb. 28 and March 27.
The same story showed the Southeast as a hotspot of people traveling an average of more than two miles from their homes.
It's worth noting much of the Southeast is rural and many people have to travel more than two miles to pick up essential items.
SC Senate to return for one day session next week
The South Carolina Senate will return for a one day session on April 8, according to Senate President Harvey Peeler.
The move will allow the general assembly to pause its session and send legislators home until it is safe to return, according to a release from Peeler.
The General Assembly plans to meet for one day in order to extend the state’s budget and set a schedule to finalize the work of this legislative session later in the year, the release said.
Unemployment claims more than doubled in SC last week
In the week ending march 28, initial unemployement claims increased nearly 109% over the previous week, according to new information from the Department of Employment and Workforce.
There were 64,856 initial claims filed in that week. There were 31,504 initial claims filed the previous week.
In Greenville County, claims numbered 6,556.
Here's what to know for Thursday
- Prisma Health leaders told a group of state lawmakers during a teleconference they project the number of coronavirus cases to peak in the next three to four weeks. DHEC has projected the number of cumulative cases could exceed 8,000 by early May.
- Greenville first responders are limiting the types of calls they go to - only responding to life-threatening calls or active scenes. Dispatchers are also asking callers if they or anyone in their household or nearby has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Clemson University voted to approve a refund of fees totaling $15.6 million to students and employees. Clemson University has moved to online instruction and most students are completing their semesters away from campus.
- There are still a few boat ramps open on Lake Hartwell, days after Gov. Henry McMaster ordered access be closed to state waterways and beaches. There are 20 Army Corps of Engeineers' boat ramps open.
- There have been 1,293 positive cases of coronavirus reported statewide, and 26 people have died. An 83-year-old woman from Iva died Wednesday.